With revenues of $560 billion in 2015, China is the world’s largest e-commerce market. Signed, sealed, delivered.

So much for the opportunities. However, full-service service providers as we are would not be needed if cross-border trade with China was a walk in the park: European traders and brands face significant challenges when trading with China, however, which they are not usually capable of handling on their own. Structural market differences such as the language and fundamentally divergent trading mentalities are not even the most crucial problems.

Asian online shoppers want to be able to trust international dealers. Though a professional marketplace design, compelling product quality and safe payment methods may appear to be a matter of course, these aspects can pose serious challenges for brands operating from their home countries. The right pricing is another key factor: the Chinese like discounts. At the same time, however, they believe that a higher price is indicative of the product quality. The brands and manufacturers need to have a keen understanding of their target groups in order to make the right decisions for each product and consumer group.

Last but not least: fulfillment; without a strong business backbone and working logistics, successful expansion to China is not possible. Moreover, a systematic market entry strategy and local market know-how are a necessity. No matter how dynamic the Chinese market is, business activities without an operational trade structure are doomed to fail.